“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Last evening I preached on the text mentioned above from Judges. The preceding narrative that leads up to that conclusion starts in Judges 19. Go ahead and read it. You will probably be surprised that is in your Bible. It is rarely preached and taught because it is a confusing storyline and once you begin to piece stuff together it is grotesque. You may even say why is that there. While other religions hide the sins of its people to make their people and prophets look like gold, the Bible keeps showing us the seriousness of sin, what people are really capable of, and that God is the only remedy.
That was not the reason for my preaching on the text. Throughout Judges the first phrase, “In those days there was no king in Israel,” is used several times. It is accounted as the main reason of why they did what they did. There was a common law, common ancestry, common land, but no king, president or authority except for God, and they apparently liked to rebel against Him. God’s answer would be to allow for a king which would later come in 1st Samuel. Imagine that! God’s answer to the darkest of sins and act was to provide a king. Our King that is our ultimate solution to the sin nature of man is Jesus.
Yet, the text still drives down to the deeper extent of how man lives today. It hits at the core of what our culture is force feeding into the masses. That truth is relative. The second phrase hits at the heart of man, not just a post-modern philosophy. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” is another way of saying that truth is not absolute but relative. You may of heard it in one of the following phrases…
What is truth (right) for you may not be truth (right) for me.
All paths (truths, religions, etc) lead to God.
All I have to do is please myself and make myself happy.
God knows my heart. I’m only human. I’m not perfect.
That’s just your point of view.
To believers God has presented us absolute truth in the Word of God. Not just one way at looking at the world and ourselves but the only way. If there be any agreement between philosophies then it does not make the whole religion true, it only means they have a portion of God’s truth. I know this is complicated stuff to pack into a blog post but we have to begin to examine ourselves to see whether we are doing the right thing (which is God’s way) or whether we are doing what is right in our eyes.
To do what is right in our eyes already gives the idea that we are justifying an action that we know is wrong. James 4:17 already deals with the way God views that. It is plainly sin. Just because it makes sense in your mind to do it and even have your reasons does not make it any less wrong in the eyes of God. You say then, “what am I to do in such a situation where doing God’s thing will be painful for me or against what I feel like doing?” Still do it God’s way. Don’t just follow your heart, guts, or other emotional feelings when it goes against God’s word. The sin infected heart and mind don’t care about you. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) Only a heart that is cleansed by faith in Christ and seeks after God can choose to do right because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
To do what is right in your eyes is dangerous. Someone will be hurt regardless of sef-justifcation. Do what is right in your eyes without thought of how others are affected always becomes the result. Imagine this way of living between two spouses. If the two spouses did what each thought was right in their own eyes they wouldn’t be together very wrong. There is an definite truth to which we must align ourselves to and that absolute truth is God’s truth.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”